Dators Pond

Dators Pond, Mahwah Township Park (8/20/2012)

A while ago, while perusing the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference Trail Map #115 (North Jersey Trails), I became intrigued with a relatively small piece of land sandwiched between parts of Ramapo Valley County Reservation denoted as Mahwah Township Park (north of Lake Henry and south of Stag Hill Road). It being relatively small, and with a trail network basically forked shaped with three-prongs, I avoided it. But today we decided to give it a try, given we had limited time and it was only 35 minutes from our home.

We parked just off Stag Hill Road (there is a P denoted on the map) and walked through the gate into the Mahwah Watershed. The signs were a bit confusing. One said that motorcycles, mountain bikes, ATVs, UTVs and go-karts (huh?) were prohibited. A second sign said that unauthorized vehicles were prohibited beyond the gate (the fence gate was locked so this clearly wasn't a problem for us). So far so good. But a third sign said "Mahwah Watershed KEEP OUT". Rechecking the map, it clearly indicated that we were on park land; the gate and parking were on Ramapo Valley County Reservation property and most of the rest of the entire hike was on Mahwah Township Property. So we entered, heading south along the paved road, passing power buildings on the left. In a very short time we came to Dators Pond where we did all three prongs of the fork, first the eastern, then the center, then the western prong. We were able to return along a woods road parallel to the western prong. Getting back to the car we encountered several workers from the Mahwah Watershed. I greeted them and they returned the greeting. So, apparently we were fine being in there. This makes sense since there seems to be no other way into this area.

The eastern prong is quite overgrown in a small stretch, but beautiful, though limited views of the pond. There is also a bridge heading east over the Ramapo River with nice views. The middle prong is, unfortunately, littered. But at the end of this prong we watched three beavers swimming in circles, clearly aware that we were there but having a grand old time regardless. The western prong is a gravel road with the best views over the pond from a greater height.

Total distance today was 3.5 miles in 2 hours.

(Click on the thumbnail to bring up a bigger image in a pop-up window)

Mahwah Watershed gate

Paved road to pond

Checking the PDF map [photo by Laura]


First view of Dators Pond

Looks like a giant keyboard!


Overgrown path in parts

A lone egret in the pond

Egret and three ducks


Wildflowers along path

Bee at work

Green Hill across the pond

Three insects! [photo by Laura]

Bridge over ...

... Ramapo River

Ramapo River looking south


River looking north

Green Acres sign

Green Hill

At southern end of eastern prong


Birdhouse on eastern prong

Pond from northern tip

Stag Hill in distance

Ramapo River

Four ducks

Horses across bridge

Looking north


Two egrets in Dators Pond

Morning Glory


Overgrown eastern prong

On middle prong

Huge beautiful moth

Narrow path

Dators Pond from middle prong

Swan and Canada Goose

View from southern tip

Swan close-up

Laura at southern tip

Watching a beaver!


Another beaver

Watching beavers in Dators Pond

Two beavers!


Lotus bud

Narrow path on middle prong


View from western prong

The gravel path

Pond through trees

Western prong looking south

Looking at ...

... dragonfly

Dators Pond from western prong

View north

Houses on hill

Dators Pond

On parallel woods road

Woods road

Bug on Daisy

Power building

Photographs and content copyright © Dan Balogh
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